Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tab Sweep: 2010-02-03

Note: apologies to anyone actually reading this - I intend to collect and comment on things I come across during the week, then push the post out via Twitter on Friday. As this is a cumulative process, if the content seems light there will probably be more later. The alternative is to keep the post in draft for a while, but this seems lame.

From IBM's Smarter Planet: Education

School districts operate on tight budgets in good times, but when Pike County found their IT budgets sliced by 80%, they knew it called for drastic measures—or true blue-sky thinking.
A rural Kentucky district of 10,000 students, Pike County administrators had struggled with providing IT resources for its students, teachers and staff. Desktop computers were still running Windows 98 with failing CD and hard drives; and access to the district's portal, which houses the applications and information the students and teachers needed,was inconsistent.
Working with IBM Global Technology Services and Desktone software, the district developed a virtual desktop infrastructure delivered as a cloud service. Students now boot the existing hardware with a special CD that bypasses the operating system and connects them instead to a high-performing virtual desktop environment. This in turn links to the district's portal site with all of the tools and information they need. Pike County can double the life of its hardware—it's planning on using seven-year-old machines without sacrificing performance—while providing students, teachers and administrators with equal, transparent access to its assets.
The district estimates cost savings of 64% over five years, compared to the cost of servicing the desktops on premises.

Now, I'm a big fan of the work that Walter Bender has been doing at Sugarlabs, as far as live booting a Sugar/Fedora OS off a USB stick, and this is more of the same. A combination of live booting thin OS and cloud computing is very potent.

Another former OLPC employee, Ivan Krstic, who now works in core security at Apple, comments on martian sandtraps. I at first thought he was speaking of golf, but apparently not. Since he began working at Apple, Krstic posts infrequently, but invariably leads to spit-take.

Apparently Mike Cane is done with his eBook Test blog, declaring the Apple iPad a future contender, or something. The vision of the iPad/iStore/iBook etc is there, even if the reality is not, yet, but we can confidently say that, yes, the iPad will change the way we read. Though I'm still holding out for the new Pixel Qi technology from OLPC alumnus Mary Lou Jepsen.

From London writer Marc Nash, an excellent critique of Roberto Bolano's 2666 and the hoopla surrounding the global reading of same at #2666 on Twitter. I am taking part in this reading, but wish I had read Bolano's Savage Detectives first, simply because of 2666's sprawling nature. Comparisons with Gravity's Rainbow, Infinite Jest and Finnegans Wake seems apt, based solely on the fly-leaf and first 100 or so pages.

Nice Valentines Day Cards, from Save the Children.